Posted by psgels on 31 October 2011 with categories: Monthly Summaries

The ratings I have given may seem lower than usual, but I’m actually quite positive about this season. The big reason why is that for once, there are plenty of series that are planned to go beyond 13 episodes. And that’s a massive improvement over the seasons of the past year. Because of this, series can take a bit longer to get going, but for now I’m happy, because there are a lot of potential gems here.

The biggest plus of this season is its creativity. There are a ton of series with very imaginative settings, that try to do something different, or that just put a lot of thoughts into their execution beyond just the basics. Again, this needs time to really pay off. In a way, this is better than the past summer season, which started off incredibly strong, but many series didn’t have the room to fully grow and take off.

#29 (new) – Chibi Devi – (2,25/10) – For me, this was the worst show of the season. Ridiculously cheaply made, really bad jokes, really bad acting and based on a very flimsy premise. Dropped.
#28 (new) – Maken-Ki – (3,75/10) – Maken-Ki is stupid fanservice with a lot of boobs, panties and fighting. Dropped.
#27 (new) – Mashiro Iro Symphony – (4,25/10) – With this series, Manglobe has exited my top 10 of favorite studios. Blacksmith and TWGOK were one thing, but this was just bad in every way aside from perhaps good inbetween animation. The drama is cheesy, the characters are one sided and stereotypes, and there’s nothing interesting about it whatsoever.
#26 (36) – Shakugan no Shana – (5/10) – After watching the first episode of the third season, I am glad that I didn’t continue with it. It’s good to see that this series is evolving, but the direction in which it evolved was rather questionable. The twist around Yuuji in particular is such a cheese ball of a twist, especially considering the cast of this series. Dropped
#25 (24) – Digimon Xros Wars – (5,25/10) – What surprised me the most about this installment of the Xros Wars saga is how incredibly hyperactive the new male lead is. Overall, Digimon Xros Wars is a show who downplays itself because it probably thinks that kids are idiots. It’s a huge change with the original Digimon series, but change alone isn’t always good.
#24 (new) – Maji de Watashi ni Koi ni Shinasai – (5,75/10) – Now this was fun! Or at least, that’s what I thought after the first episode. The first episode made no sense, but it was over the top and every character was having fun in his or her role. And then the second episode came and things got really dull. and then the third and fourth episode came and this show degenerated into nothing but fanservice and dull repeated harem antics. This is what you get when you want to open with a bang, but have no intentions of putting in any other effort at entertaining your audience beyond it.
#23 (new) – Sengoku Paradise: Kiwami – (6/10) – This one is good…. for about one laugh. If you’re really bored you might want to give it a chance, but in the end it’s not really worth it compared to the other comedies this season.
#22 (new) – C3 – (6/10) – I like diverse shows. However, that doesn’t mean that I automatically consider any show that has it good. A very nasty example of this is C3: this set up would have been nice, if only the acting wasn’t so abysmally bad, it didn’t feel like the Shaft of three years ago, it didn’t force its drama and plot twists, and it wasn’t so damn cliched. These characters are in no way fun to watch. They’re incredibly stupid stereotypes with superpowers.
#21 (new) – Mobile Suit Gundam AGE – (6,5/10) – At this point, I’ve gotten tired of Gundam shows, so I have very little patience for them. At this point I see too much potential for this show to become a boring repetition of random battles. The first episode just had too many things that made me tired of this genre. Wake me up if it does turn out to be different. Dropped
#20 (new) – Guilty Crown – (7/10) – This one turned out to be the big disappointment of this season. It has an excellent pedigree, and yet it hardly takes any chances or risks. It’s full of cliches and characters who don’t know what they want to be. The female lead in particular is bad for doing absolutely nothing within the span of the first three episodes. The animation looks gorgeous, but even that turned out half-assed with the third episode.
#19 (new) – Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai – (7,25/10) – In the end, I decided to drop this show. I just don’t get what’s so good about it. The only thing that I liked about the first three episode was that it has very solid dialogue. Beyond that though, it’s just another harem with too many cliches, forced characters and uninteresting drama.
#18 (new) – Sekai-Ichi Hatsukoi – (7,5/10) – I dropped this show. The biggest reason for this is lack of time though, but at the same time I also have to say that while the comedy in this show is nice and the characterization is good, I’d rather watch a show about actual gay people, rather than angsty bishies who keep raping each other.
#17 (15) – Nurarihyon no Mago – (7,75/10) – Agh, this is my problem with most shounen series: how long did it take again for this story to take off? It’s been forty episodes, and Rikuo is put into yet another training arc that bogs down the story. Also, the entire set-up of this arc bugs me: it’s well directed, but when Rikuo created his Parade of 100 demons, I expected him to do this for the sake of creating a small army. What the past episodes have been doing is take random characters away from the others, and throwing them in predictable one-on-one or two-on-one battles. The big problem is that they tended to end with a very predictable save at the last possible moment that could have been seen from miles away. How much more of this build-up and random battles against waves of uninteresting enemies until things get interesting here?
#16 (new) – Kimi to Boku – (7,75/10) – This one has potential. It has this boring atmosphere that at first sight seems like an instant failure, but then it comes and turns that atmosphere around again. The characters all have their moments that get on my nerves, thoug, but none are as bad as the blond kid. Will he ever shut up?
#15 (new) – Persona 4 The Animation – (7,75/10)

Persona has the potential to become great as it goes on. Its premise can get really good in terms of character development if handled well. At the moment it’s still a bit too stuck in its own formula to really take off, though. There is little time given to flesh out the characters, which is why the parts where they show their inner secrets lack the impact they could have had.

#14 (new) – Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon – (7,75/10)

This series’ biggest asset is its creativity. It’s set in an original world and the cast of characters is HUGE and very colourful. The overall plot feels a bit random and silly, but it’s definitely building up to something. The character designs themselves are abysmal, there are some definitely annoying characters and a lot of time is spent on just goofing off, but there’s some definite potential here.

#13 (new) – Phi Brain – (7,75/10)

This is a rather silly show about puzzles. In particular the antagonists make really weird decisions and have really strange motivations, but it’s worth it to see what kind of puzzles the creators come with, and the overall cast is eccentric, yet fun to watch. There is a very real chance for this show to become TOO eccentric, though. The key will be good variety in the puzzles from this point on.

#12 (17) – Shinryaku!? Ika-Musume – (8/10)

Overall Squid Girl’s second season has been a little step down compared to the frist season, but for comedy sequels’ standards it isn’t much of a step. The animation has gotten slightly worse, and some stories are too forced, but there still are a bunch of really hilarious stories. It needs to keep this up, because getting worse from this point isn’t an option.

#11 (9) – Bakuman – (8/10)

I do have to say that Bakuman is currently the best Shounen Jump series out there. Unlike Gintama and Sket Dance it isn’t throwing a bunch of random stories around in the hope that it’ll get lucky and strike gold, while unlike Nurarihyon no Mago it isn’t breaking up the flow with constant training arcs. The second season does have fixed some of its pacing issues, but on the other hand it’s not yet Hunter X Hunter material, and things have been rather monotonous.

#10 (new) – Tamayura ~ Hitotose – (8/10)

The two big slice of life series are both very, very different, but they’ve got one similarity: they depend on characters with annoying sides, and they somehow make it work. For me, Tamayura does it the best of the two at this point. It’s really well animated, and it actually uses photos really well to flesh out its cast. The drama around it isn’t random, but tells a lot about the characters. Some parts like the whistling and the shota fangirls can get annoying, though.

#9 (new) – Hunter X Hunter – (8,25/10)

Here is the thing with this new season: it’s much faster than the first season. That has advantages and disadvantages. The story flows more, it’s easier to get into and as the result a lot of very interesting stuff has already happened in just four episodes. Now, the thing remains that this show skips a lot of time to flesh out the characters because of this. Out of all adaptations that feel rushed this season, this one actually does its best to hide it so far, but the real test for this show will be the point where the characters will actually show themselves off. Will these be as great as well? Right now, the only parts that really are worse than the first season are the music, and some of the voice acting.

#8 (new) – Mirai Nikki – (8,25/10)

Mirai Nikki is over the top suspense, and it realizes that. The characters are fun and well acted together, there’s a good whiff of romance without overdoing it, and the first three episodes have been very entertaining with a pretty good atmosphere.

#7 (new) – Fate/Zero – (8,25/10)

Fate/Zero stands out as the most solid series of the season. I refuse to watch Fate/Stay Night but this was completely different and much more interesting (and heck, we’re talking about actual adults this time). My big complaint about it is that it’s a bit boring with its exposition. There are long scenes of characters just standing in one place and do nothing but talking, and characters stop in the middle of fights to explain their moves. That breaks flow.

#6 (new) – Ben-To – (8,25/10)

What makes Ben-To so addictive is its direction. It has definite harem elements, but tis delivery is fresh and interesting. The jokes all work great, the timing of this show is perfect, and even when it’s not funny, the characters are interesting and well acted, rather than most other moe shows that have just boring characters. On top of that the fights are a lot of fun to watch, and the premise of fighting over half-priced lunches just kicks ass.

#5 (new) – Last Exile – Ginkyou no Fam – (8,5/10)

If you’re planning to watch this series, I have one message for you: watch up to the second episode. Both episodes are completely different in tone. The first episode is rather childish, where the second is very serious. It actually manages to blend the two together very well and most importantly it knows when to ditch its silliness. What really impressed me is how much the creators put into the setting. This show is full of creativity and the world it’s played in actually feels alive.

#4 (new) – Chihayafuru – (8,5/10)

This show has the best characters of the new season. They’re really well animated, very dynamic (showing both their young and old versions in full details really helps!), plus the karuta matches were really made exciting. The big challenge for this show is making the karuta matches this way. It’s a very simple game, so keeping up this pace will be a challenge.

#3 (new) – Un-Go – (8,5/10)

I really like the storytelling in this series. This show knows that it’s Noitamina and tries to stuff as much into its episodes as possible. The result is that it’s really fast paced, but not in a bad way. Episodes do require a second watch-through in order to get everything, but for me that’s not a bad thing at all. My only gripe is that the cast of characters is rather flat.

#2 (4) – Hyouge Mono – (8,75/10)

This month was all about character development. Naturally this was a great chance for the cast to shine, in a very weird arc that completely ditched the warfare in favor of esthetics. This is Bee-Train though, so I’m really looking forward to what they have planned for the ending.

#1 (1) – Mawaru Penguin Drum – (9,25/10)

Penguin Drum has definitely changed this month. I think that it’s for the better. It’s both become hilarious and the character development is really kicking in. It keeps finding new ways of showing symbolism and toying with its storyline. And yet, amidst the chaos, nothing is just thrown in at random. It would be awesome if the final third will be able to live up to the potential that has been built up so far.

28 Responses

  1. Gottis says:

    I don’t follow even half of these series, but… I can say what I think about those that I do follow:

    Chibi Devi: I find this one insanely ADORABLE. ^^;;
    Digimon Xros Wars: Love it. Taiki’s my favorite goggle boy, the three rivals are interesting, Yuu’s lovable as ever and Tagiru… Could grow on me.
    Gundam AGE: So far… Very meh. But Gundam shows usually take almost 10 episodes before they grab me, so will continue this one for a while at least.
    Persona 4: STOP. RUSHING. THROUGH. STUFF. Seriously. People who hasn’t played the game is going to end up very unimpressed.
    Phi Brain: It shifts between boring and really exciting. Huh. Will continue to watch because of Ana. I like my girly boys.
    Mirai Nikki: CRAZY AWESOME SHIT! :DDDD
    HunterxHunter: Forcing myself NOT to go back and look at the first series to compare the two. Liking it so far, but there is a distinctive lack of blood. =/
    Chihayafuru: Instant LOVE. OMG I’ve missed a seriously awesome slice of life/sports SHOUJO in my life. And the characters are AWESOME ♥

    I’ve dropped Penguin Drum several weeks ago, and I don’t think I’ll pick it back up, honestly.

    I do think I WILL check out Kimi to Boku and Last Exile though.

  2. imredjimmy says:

    I’m loving the potential this season is holding. My top is a little bit different then yours. I’m only watching 12 series, having dropped 2 (Tamayura and Majikoi). For the rest, I’d ranked them this way.

    12)Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon
    11)Guilty Crown
    10)Ben-To
    9)Kimi to Boku
    8)Phi Brain
    7)HunterXHunter
    6)Mirai Nikki
    5)Last Exile
    4)Un Go
    3)Fate/Zero
    2)Mawaru Penguindrum
    1)Chihayafuru

    As much as I’ve loved Mawaru’s last few episodes, I’m more impress by the interest the first few Chihayafuru episodes have gathered for me :) We’ll see how it’ll change in the upcoming month ;)

  3. rufe says:

    The preview from this weeks Sket Dance had a pretty funny parody of Bakuman. I noticed that Bakuman also featured a discussion of the Sket Dance seiyuu which was pretty funny.

  4. Kalandra says:

    Of all the anime in your list, you only dropped 4?

  5. psgels psgels says:

    Kalandra: ack, that’s what I get when trying to rush through these posts. Consider everything below Gundam Age also dropped.

  6. hikaru says:

    You really love Penguindrum XD As for me…I’m only still watching it in the hopes that one day it will finally make sense -_-

  7. Kim says:

    My top two are definitely Mawaru Penguin Drum & Chihayafuru. Both very different series but both wonderful in their own way.

    I would probably rank Fate Zero at 3 and Hunter X Hunter at 4 (or maybe switch that around).

    I can’t rank any other shows because I am not enjoying any others. :)

  8. Silty says:

    “I do have to say that Bakuman is currently the best Shounen Jump series out there.” Err, doesn’t Hunter x Hunter also count as a Shounen Jump series? So it’s the second best?

  9. psgels psgels says:

    Hunter x hunter is shounen jump?

  10. Kim says:

    Yes Hunter X Hunter is a Jump series!

  11. psgels psgels says:

    Oh, I could have sworn that it was from a different magazine. In that case it’s indeed the second best, with Hunter X Hunter being the best.

  12. Tomato says:

    Random question psgels, but is English not your first language?

  13. psgels psgels says:

    Tomato: it indeed isn’t. I’m Dutch.

  14. Tomato says:

    Ah, that explains the comma decimal points

  15. mario2man says:

    For the record Jump does have good unique series. Its just that most get canceled before they realize their full potential. Double Arts and MX0 are such examples. Hopefully Magico survives long enough.

  16. Gintoki says:

    Ho Hum… I thought the pacing for Hunter X Hunter was executed pretty well actually. There were no needless fillers or scenes, it follows the manga amazingly well,although like a poster above said THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE BLOODSHED.I understand that they want it to be ‘kid-friendly’, but the show loses a lot of it’s impact because of it’s tendency to shy away from the bloodier scenes. I guess we can’t have everything, eh?
    As for character development, they’re probably going to get plenty of that real soon.
    Oh and psgels, thanks for the unintended chuckle ( not to embarrass you or anything!). I found your little epiphany moment to be quite endearing.:)

  17. Gintoki says:

    Hold on a minute… So you didn’t know Yu Yu Hakusho and Level E were Shonen Jump either?

  18. psgels psgels says:

    Gintoki: I knew that. I just had Hunter X Hunter confused with Letter Bee somehow. ^^;

  19. Gintoki says:

    Haha, don’t blame you. Considering how many hiatuses HunterxHunter has gone on, you’d think the series was in Jump Square( which is published monthly).

  20. Joojoobees says:

    #1 Penguin Drum is amazing.
    #2 Chihayafuru — best new show without a doubt.

    Unfortunately I rely on subs, so I’m about 20 episodes behind on Hyouge Mono.

    Bakuman has impressed me, by coming back so much stronger than season 1.

    Phi Brain, Last Exile: Fam, Un-Go, Tamayura — all fun shows.

    Persona 4, Fate/Zero, Mirai Nikki — I’m watching these, too, but they seem a tad over-hyped in the Aniblogisphere.

  21. betawatcher says:

    @hikaru MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY. I keep watching and watching for this symbolism that’ll make this show deeper but there must’ve been A TON OF THEM cos I just don’t get it. I hope it doesn’t become another Star Driver (cos honestly I don’t understand its concepts either or maybe I’m just looking too deeply into this 0__o)…

    I find that even though Kimi to Boku just can’t maintain an serious atmosphere (I just couldn’t take them seriously in the anime – in the manga I remember feeling emotional about it…) it never fails to make me laugh. XDDD At least it shows comedy isn’t always about hitting people.

  22. DP says:

    Currently:

    Ben-To: Fun comedy.

    C3: Amazing improvement in episodes 3-5 as it transitioned from pointless moe into a creative action/horror show with impressive very cool visuals and unique character origins.

    Mirai Nikki: To some extent a low rent eden of the east with a wimpy hero, but it has lots of energy.

    Boku Wa Tomadatchi: Teeters on the edge of pandering cliche, but has enough creativity and characterization in the main leads to be fun to watch.

    Bakuman: I can’t see why people who enjoy manga would find this boring. Seems fascinating to me.

  23. Aera says:

    My favorites:

    1. Penguindrum
    2. Chihayafuru
    3. Last Exile Fam
    4. Ben-to

    I was disappointed/bored with Guilty Crown, Mirai Nikki and Un-go, so dropped those. Hyouge Mono I have little doubt I’d be watching it – if only someone would get to subtitling it.

  24. Rednights says:

    I have no idea what #2 is but I’ll def check out Un Go since you rank it so high …

  25. AidanAK47 says:

    “Episodes do require a second watch-through in order to get everything, but for me that’s not a bad thing at all.”

    Really? I thought UN-GOs mysteries were incredibly simple. I picked out the culprit every time before the reveal. Still it is quite fun.
    But I really think you are discriminating against fate/zero…

  26. Kalandra says:

    There are long scenes of characters just standing in one place and do nothing but talking,

    Btw, I thought you like those Psgels (No sarcasm!).

  27. psgels psgels says:

    Kalandra: I usually do. I think what made the difference in Fate/Zero was that the things they talked about weren’t really interesting compared to how they’re usually done.

  28. jreding says:

    My personal ranking has rarely be so much in line with yours, psgels!

    I notice that Working!! deservedly is not even mentioned as dropped.

    Maybe I’d rate Tamayura a bit higher for the gorgeous artwork. Fate Zero on the other hand has too much CGI and too simple backgrounds for my taste.

    I’d also rate Mirai Nikki a bit higher for the inventive characters and story. I find Ben-to, for example, a bit less entertaining than Mirai Nikki.

    Finally, it’s a shame that I have to depend on the rare releases of new subs for Hyouge Mono because this show is clearly my #1.

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 08:32 AM)
    @Ninja: no I met most of them at Burning Man.
  • ninjarealist
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 08:23 AM)
    @Bam I see I just figured that if you had a lot of friends in KY you must have lived in the region.
    @Friend Yeah or involved desserts like Palmiers or Croissants. I actually am pretty decent at making croissants from scratch but it’s a pain in the ass.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 08:21 AM)
    And that’s … The More You Know ;)
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 08:19 AM)
    “Iran” originally means “the land of the Aryans”. The European settlers of Aryan decent are correctly labeled Indo-European as they traveled from north of India across Iran and the Caucasus mountain range (hence the term Caucasian) and settled in pastural lands in Europe. Hence we are the original white people. Go figure.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 08:14 AM)
    @K-off: some good-looking corn there m8.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 08:13 AM)
    @Ninja: No I’m Persian since I was originally born and raised in Tehran/Iran. I am mostly of Parthian decent with a quarter of Kurd in me. I have moved around the globe since I was 16 and now live in Sacramento California.
  • Friend
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 08:13 AM)
    @ninja Some party foods like the brochette dijon flambe are too hard for me to prepare/mass produce at home, so it’s definitely worth eating out for things like that O.o
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 08:10 AM)
    I’m not sure what’s with me and demonyms tonight, but don’t be offended since, they’re more of a term of endearment for me. But if you really are offended then chances are that you deserved it in the 1st place.
  • ninjarealist
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 08:08 AM)
    @Bam lol, it never came up. Are you a Southerner/Midwesterner as well?
  • ninjarealist
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 08:07 AM)
    @Friend Yeah cooking is definitely a better deal most of the time. Although for certain kinds of food, you can get a surprisingly good deal eating out. But it also just feels empowering to cook for yourself.

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